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TV Picture Quality Problems Due to Inferior F-Connectors

Are Your F-Connectors the Right Fit for Your Project? Call your cable company for a service call...and don't be surprised if the first thing they do is to cut off your old F-connectors and replace them with new ones. That's because inferior, degraded or improperly applied F-connectors have historically been a prime source of TV picture quality problems. Several types of connectors are available commercially and through retail outlets. Here is a brief discussion about the pros and cons of the most popular varieties:


Twist-on Connectors A convenient, low-cost solution designed for the homeowner...these connectors are made with shallow threads in the connector body that pierce the cable jacket enabling the connector to be "screwed" on without the additional expense of special crimping or compression tools. These connectors are not weather-sealed so they are susceptible to water migration-and thus, should never be used outdoors. Ingress/egress (signal leakage) can also be a problem causing ghosting on the picture. Twist-on connectors are handy in a pinch, but should only be used for emergencies or temporary solutions until a better connector can be applied.


Hex Crimp Connectors As the name implies, hex crimp connectors are applied to the cable with six pressure points. This creates six "channels" or gaps where water migration and/or signal leakage can occur. Application of these connectors is craft-sensitive, depending on a precisely calibrated tool and proper positioning of the tool on the connector body for a secure fit. Use of the correct hex crimp tool is essential, so resist the temptation to apply these connectors using pliers or other pinching devices. If you decide to use hex crimp connectors, avoid low-quality products found in retail stores in favor of professional-grade products typically found in cable TV and other commercial environments. Gel-filled hex crimp connectors are essential for outdoor use.


Compression Connectors Most professionals would agree that compression connectors are "best practice" for quality indoor and outdoor broadband connections. Compression connectors create a 360 seal around the jacket of the cable to prevent signal leakage and water migration. Commercial grade compression connectors will include internal "O" rings and other features that further adhere the connector to the jacket, and protect against harsh environmental conditions. These connectors often have exceptional pullout strength tolerances-which are essential to maintaining connectivity in indoor environments where the cable is likely to be inadvertently pulled or stretched. Compression connectors are typically less craft-sensitive than hex crimp connectors because application can only be performed with the proper tool.


Commercial-grade vs. Retail Connectors Connectors found in most retail stores and home improvement centers are often low quality devices manufactured to achieve specific price targets. Light weight, thin metal construction is characteristic of these connectors-as is signature gold plating, that while attractive, is virtually useless in outdoor environments for extended periods of time. Retail products typically have shallow nuts with up to 30% fewer threads which are more difficult to turn, and can contribute to signal leakage. When applied properly, these connectors will effectively pass signal, but may not provide optimal specifications for ingress/egress, water migration, pullout strength and several other factors that contribute to a quality voice, video or data experience. In contrast, commercial grade products meet Society of Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and Telcordia (formerly Bellcore) specifications that cover a litany of stringent mechanical and electrical requirements.


High quality compression F-connectors are available at YourBroadbandStore.com, your source for quality broadband products.


Source: www.isnare.com